Hasty lodgers twice as likely to make mistakes, ATO warns

The Tax Office is warning taxpayers against rushing to lodge their tax returns on 1 July.

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The ATO says it is cracking down on incorrect returns this tax time, with taxpayers who rush to lodge their returns on 1 July twice as likely to make mistakes.

Assistant commissioner Rob Thomson said the ATO saw “lots of mistakes” from early lodgers, particularly those with multiple income sources.

Forgetting to include interest from banks, dividend income, payments from government agencies and private health insurance details were among the most common issues.

 

“Tax time is not a race, and there is a much higher chance that your return will be missing important information if you lodge in early July.”

The ATO identified taxpayers’ failure to include all income when lodging as one of three focus areas for tax time.

Earlier this month, it warned against landlords inflating claims for rental deductions and individuals incorrectly claiming work-from-home expenses.

 

Rental deductions would be under the microscope after the ATO found that nine out of 10 rental property owners got their tax returns wrong, with the most common issue being incorrect repairs and maintenance claims.

Another target for the ATO will be work-related expenses in light of recent changes to WFH deduction rules.

The ATO said taxpayers could avoid making mistakes in their tax returns by waiting until late July onwards to lodge, when most information from employers, banks, government agencies and health funds would be automatically loaded into tax returns.

“We know some prefer to tick their tax return off the to-do list early and not think about it for another 12 months, but the best way to get it right is to wait just a few weeks to lodge,” Thomson said.

In the meantime, the ATO said taxpayers could spend time gathering all necessary records, ensuring details were up to date and reviewing the occupation guides on the ATO website to check their claims were accurate.

“Take some time to make sure all your details are correct. This includes your contact details, address, and bank details. Updating these after you lodge may cause delays,” Thomson said.

Once information was pre-filled and finalised by employers, income statements would be marked as “tax ready”.

“You can check if your employer has marked your income statement as ‘tax ready’ as well as if your pre-fill is available in myTax before you lodge. Once the information we collect is available, all you need to do is check it and add anything that’s missing,” Thomson said.

Errors made in returns could be rectified via myGov or by speaking to a registered tax agent.

“People sometimes make mistakes,” the ATO said.

“Taxpayers that realise they have made a mistake can fix errors or omissions in their tax return once their initial lodgment has been processed through the ATO online amendment process.”

 

 

 

 

Christine Chen
25 June 2024
accountantsdaily.com.au

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